In North America, maids are seen only in the homes of the very rich. In Hong Kong however, most middle-class families can afford to employ one. Every year, thousands of young women from Indonesia and the Philippines come to Hong Kong to work as “domestic helpers”, hoping to make a better life for their families. These women are typically paid around US$500 a month, a small sum in this city but much more than they would make in their home countries. For this, they do far more than just cleaning and cooking. They buy the groceries, run errands, act as a chauffeur for the family and take care of the children. Every day, when children are let out from schools, maids meet them at the school gates. They pick up the children’s bags, hold their hand, and lead them on their way home.

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